Back-to-School Virtues

Helping Your Child Succeed in Class and in Life

Back-to-School Virtues

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As the new school year begins, parenting magazines, chat rooms, and talk shows come alive with suggestions for success in the schoolroom. There’s enthusiasm, and often good advice, for parent-teacher teamwork, helping kids learn, believing in your child’s potential, and making this “the best school year ever.”

Provided it’s well directed, enthusiasm is a gift! Every effective educator has it; every learner needs it. So as we gear up for the academic year, how about also stirring up some enthusiasm for improving the instruction that our kids receive year-round? I’m talking about the “school of virtue” that meets every day in our own homes and lays the foundation for academic achievement.

And our kids’ moral and spiritual formation goes hand-in-hand with the intellectual development that also begins at home and then unfolds beyond it, with the assistance of teachers and school systems. As Catholic psychologist and educator Thomas Lickona puts it, education has always had two great goals: “to help people become smart and to help them become good.”

In fact, helping children become good helps them to become smart. You may not realize it now, but…

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